A new Integrated Care System (ICS) is being developed for Northern Ireland.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said the system signals a new way of planning and managing health and social care services based on the specific needs of the population.

The ICS approach will bring many partners together, building on the partnership working encountered during the pandemic.

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HSCB said in a statement: “Health and social care services in Northern Ireland were under immense pressure even before the pandemic started and it’s the reason why plans were put in place to reform services back in 2016.

“The pandemic interrupted that work, but the response to COVID-19 highlighted the ability of many different sectors to come together in order to provide services and support individuals and communities in need.

“Now is the right time to build on some of those changes and focus on improving the health and wellbeing of the population into the future.”

The plan is to enhance and empower partnerships that have been cultivated by health and social care professionals, local councils, the voluntary and community sectors, patients, carers and service users.

The new model will see partnership groups across the region use local knowledge to plan integrated and continuous health and social care services for their local communities.

HSCB added: “It won’t happen overnight. This new model will take time to be developed and then rolled out.

“This new system will help support people to better manage their health and wellbeing and stay healthier for longer.  By bringing all partners together to plan for the health and wellbeing needs of the NI population, the new Integrated Care System will secure better outcomes and results for all.”

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